Toronto’s signature diversity infuses many aspects of its food scene, including its batch of romantic restaurants. For some couples, date night means crisp white tablecloths, fine wine, and exceptional service. Others lust after buzzy hotspots that encourage them to lean in close for intimate conversations. Fortunately, the Queen City is well-stocked with both kinds of places—and everything in between.
In North York, a decades-old French landmark, known for its flower-filled patio, is sure to impress even the choosiest date. A Trinidadian chef serves up inspired Caribbean cuisine and dreamy getaway vibes at a rustic Queen West restaurant. Shareable small plates pair well with flirty banter at a beloved tapas joint in Little Italy.
Whether you’re wooing a new crush or celebrating your 10th wedding anniversary, Toronto has a table for you. Read on for a guide to 12 of the city’s most romantic restaurants, poised for every type of date.
For a first date
Minami (Entertainment District)
Turn up the heat—quite literally—on your first date. Flame-seared sushi is the name of the game at Minami, the fourth Toronto location for the Aburi Restaurants group. Another date-night star is the wagyu, served on a sizzling stone hot plate alongside black garlic miso, truffle kimizu (egg and rice vinegar sauce), and seasonal vegetables. Minami’s award-winning interiors, which feature illuminated arched screens made from glazed fabrics and a mural by Japanese painter Hideki Kimura, will give you and your companion plenty to talk about, should there be a lull in conversation.
Bar Isabel (Little Italy)
Shareable Spanish plates make great companions for flirty, first-date banter at this easygoing Little Italy spot. The charming space hums with conversation, evoking an old-world European ambiance with curved wooden archways and sexy red lighting. Order as many dishes as you can cram on the restaurant’s petite, bistro-style tables; the menu reflects chef Grant van Gameren’s passion for nose-to-tail cooking, featuring platters of tender jamón and whole-grilled octopus, best paired with house-baked bread. An exceptionally well-curated beer, wine, and cocktail selection attracts seasoned drinks aficionados.
For a second date
Alma (Bloordale Village)
With first-date jitters out of the way, take things up a notch at this homey but modern Chinese spot. Executive chef Anna Chen’s inviting Bloordale restaurant combines inspiration from her Hakka Chinese and Indian roots with her French and Italian culinary training. The food selection is thoughtful, seasonal, and ever-changing but includes a few constant favourites, including housemade stracciatella cheese, which appears in dishes such as scallion flatbread and bao. The small and large plate menu gives plenty of options to couples looking to sample a little bit of everything, as well as those who believe that separate entrees are the secret to a harmonious relationship.
For an anniversary or a romantic milestone
Osteria Giulia (Yorkville)
The follow-up to chef Rob Rossi and restaurateur David Minicucci’s critically acclaimed restaurant Giulietta is as special occasion-worthy as its predecessor. Osteria Giulia’s northern Italian dishes, such as hand-braided pasta with wild squid and bay scallops and burrata tossed in preserved peach vinaigrette, are fresh, simple, and sophisticated. The restaurant’s minimalist interior is an extension of the menu’s refined touch. All clean lines and neutral colours, the setting is a dream for couples who go giddy over a Scandi-style aesthetic, featuring blond oak tables, Italian limestone accents, and a wood-paneled bar.
Harbour Sixty (South Core)
With a grand setting in the restored, turn-of-the-century Harbour Commission building and a menu centered on USDA prime beef, Harbour Sixty stands out as a quintessential celebration spot. The seductive, three-floor space is decked out in a rich palette of plum, black, and cream. From the Italian crystal lights in the formal dining room to a bar with mother-of-pearl wall details, the restaurant is filled with ornate accents. The menu offers old-school steakhouse standbys such as seafood towers, New York strip, and wagyu steaks, along with more contemporary sides including lobster mashed potato and white truffle mac and cheese.
For a proposal worthy place
Auberge Du Pommier (North York)
Auberge du Pommier has remained a north Toronto charmer since it opened in a connected pair of 19th-century cottages in 1987. Specializing in modern French fare, the restaurant reflects classic candlelit-dining at its best—ideal for momentous occasions. Over the years, some of the city’s best chefs have passed through this landmark spot, so there’s always something new and inventive on the menu. Executive chef Doug Penfold puts an emphasis on fresh ingredients and playful textures. The a la carte menu, which features dishes such as seared foie gras with honey-roasted pear and Dungeness crab with celeriac consommé, is consistently excellent. Though if you’re here to pop the big question, the multi-course tasting menu is the way to go.
For group dates
This group-friendly East End brewpub focuses on fresh Canadian fare, with many ingredients grown onsite in a 4,000-square-foot rooftop garden and an in-house butcher making sausage and charcuterie. The hyper-local bounty enhances a menu of casual, approachable dishes, made for sharing. Feast on the wild BC sidestripe shrimp toast and a selection of other imaginative dishes designed to complement Avling’s house-brewed beers, many of which rotate seasonally. Avling’s high-ceiled space is painted in lovely pastel hues, softening more industrial elements such as polished terrazzo floors. Colourful murals by Toronto artist Madison van Rijn serve as top-notch conversation starters, and the circular central bar is awash in deep blue.
Baro (King West)
This lively King West restaurant hosts many group hangouts in its multi-level space—some of which are geared more towards partying than dining. The plant-fringed main dining room, with soft lighting and cozy booths, is where the romance potential is the strongest. The menu draws inspiration from all across Latin America. Many of the dishes are shareable, including the reimagined OG duck chaufa, a riff on the Peruvian dish arroz chaufa, featuring delicately caramelized fried rice mixed with duck confit, edamame, and chile, served in a heated stone bowl. The drinks menu includes classic cocktails, as well as creative house concoctions that mirror the food’s Latin American flavours.
For a transportative and adventurous date spot
Chadon Beni (West Queen West)
At Chadon Beni, Trinidadian chef Ross Milne dishes up Caribbean-influenced fare in a beach getaway-inspired setting. The rotating small plates menu features dishes with vibrant flavours such as wild boar sliders with bacon and pineapple and conch fritters with tamarind and mango chutney. Many dishes incorporate the restaurant’s namesake herb, a citrus-forward ingredient commonly used in Caribbean cooking. Rum headlines the cocktail menu, with drinks such as the Trini Rum Punch, a white rum, orange-pineapple, soda, bitters, lime, and nutmeg concoction that sets the tropical vacation mood. A heated patio adds to the far-flung feel.
For an intimate, cosy restaurant
Grey Gardens (Kensington Market)
This Kensington Market wine bar-cum-restaurant from well-known Toronto restaurateur Jen Agg features an outstanding vino selection. Agg is known for vibe curation, and with artfully vintage interiors, Grey Gardens is no exception. The front bar area is devoted to walk-ins, while reservations are available in the cozy, 30-seat main dining room. The wine list will wow enthusiasts, but the restaurant is also approachable for newbies thanks to straightforward tasting notes. The food menu is divided into shareable plates, such as smoked fish dip, plus heartier noodle dishes diners can linger over, including smoked beef shank bolognese and a standout agnolotti.
Gare de L’Est (Leslieville)
Gare de L’Est’s name is a nod to Paris’s historic train station and the restaurant’s East End location. The menu, tailor-made for a hushed, romantic rendezvous, brings a local influence to traditional French brasserie fare featuring steak tartare with hand-cut Ontario beef, and moules frites with PEI organic blue mussels. With concrete floors and exposed overhead pipes, the restaurant has a subtly industrial feel that tips a hat to its Parisian namesake. Blue velvet banquettes are perfect for sitting side by side, while an open kitchen, framed by Carrara marble, amplifies the elegance.
For an evening of entertainment
Casa Madera (King West)
Casa Madera takes diners on an immersive Mediterranean Mexican culinary jaunt, complete with theatrical presentations with food and drink often served aflame or in unique vessels. The restaurant’s inventive cocktail menu is themed by natural elements and includes well-crafted non-alcoholic options, such as the La Fuente, a mix of coconut water, blue spirulina, spiced demerara sugar, and a citrus blend. Mexico-born chef Olivier Le Calvez draws on his cosmopolitan training for an eclectic menu of hybrid starters—Mexican tabbouleh, anyone?—and seasonal tacos. Depending on the night, your table could be met by a dancer wafting incense or DJs setting the mood with ambient beats.